themighty logo

5 Reasons People With Chronic Illnesses Make Great Friends


I used to think being sick would make me a bad friend. There’s a misconception that people with chronic illnesses are flaky, but looking back on it, I think being sick has actually taught me how to be a better friend.

I’ve made some of my best friends even after getting sick, and here’s why:

1. We are the most loyal people.

When you get sick and later diagnosed, a lot of people leave. Some can’t handle it, they don’t know what to say or it just may be too much. You might hear about this happening often, but a lot of really great people also stay. Since we know you have a choice to stay or go, we are the most loyal and grateful friends for our small tribe. Simply put, we’re fiercely loyal and love our friends and partners deeply.

2. We don’t bother with shallow topics.

This past birthday was my third year of being sick. I realized my friends and family knew me even better than any year before — despite a rough year full of struggling. Why? Sickness forces you to abandon shallow conversation topics on both sides of the conversation. When we’re open and vulnerable, we’re allowing others around us to do the same with their lives.

3. We love to serve others.

Just because we’re sick doesn’t mean we’re self-focused. People with illnesses are actually some of the most thoughtful people you’ll meet. Since we’ve personally experienced the kindness of others, we know how important little things are, like sending cards, care packages and encouraging text messages.

4. We’re empathetic.

If you’re going through something, whether it’s a hard day or a big breakup or the loss of a family member, just know that we get it. We won’t tell you to suck it up, we won’t sit there awkwardly and we surely won’t abandon you. We know what it’s like to struggle, so we’re going to sit right there with you through it, ask you questions and probably make you cookies or a cup of tea.

5. We find joy in everything, especially all the little things.

On that same note, we see the beauty in the everyday. It doesn’t take a lot to impress us: We love walks, sunny days, good jokes and conversations. We appreciate it because we can’t take it for granted! To be friends with a chronically ill person is to know joy!

Do you have any other ways you’ve learned to be a better friend since getting sick, or has someone else been a better friend because of your diagnosis? Please share!